Are you planning on going on a vacation with a friend and the “they better have good music” thought is recurrent in your mind? No worries we are in this together and I understand that music is the soundtrack to our lives, it can play a significant part in any travel experience. Whether it’s the pulsating beat of a nightclub, the lilting strains of a traditional song, street music festivals, a classical music concert, or great jazz that complements a delicious meal, it’s as much a part of vacation memories as a walk on the beach or exploring a magnificent Museum. If you’re into any of those listed above, Africa got you covered. And I’m sure you’ll enjoy a fantastic vacation by choosing any one of these six destinations in Africa for your amazing musical getaway.

The six destinations in Africa for your amazing musical getaway are;

1. Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa’s biggest city has always been a hotbed of cultural fusion in the country, and the resultant vibes have reverberated across the globe many times in the past six decades in the form of our afro-jazz, mbaqanga, kwaito, and house. Johannesburg is also interesting in its insistence on being an African city with a very global outlook. In terms of music history, this can be traced to jazz and kwela groups of the 1950s through to the soul, funk, and rock of the 1960s and 1970s and even to the Synth Pop or bubblegum of the 1980s.

Music Venues to visit: Zone 6; Kitcheners Bar; Harem; Taboo; Bassline; Orbit Jazz Club; Afrikan Freedom Station; Alexander Theatre; Soweto Theatre; Randlords; The Living Room.

Festivals: Arts Alive; Back To The City; AfroPunk Festival; Standard Bank Joy of Jazz; Ultra; Vodacom In The City; DSTV Delicious Food and Music Festival; Soweto Wine Festival; Lusito Land

Great Record Stores to visit: Record Mad; Afrosynth Records; Aware Records

Great Johannesburg artists to watch out for Samthing Soweto; Thandiswa Mazwai; Batuk; Loui Lvndn; Nonku Phiri; Spoek Mathambo; Aero Manyelo; Amandla Freedom;  Ensemble Kajama; The Brother Moves On; Julian Gomes; Black Motion

2. Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria is called the Heart of African Music because of its role in the development of West African music, which combines different characteristic African rhythms. Nigeria’s music has gained international recognition not only in the field of folk but also in the area of popular music. Music is in the Lagos air! The town is buzzing with so many different genres of musical talent, you just need to know where to find it. Here is a list of some of the places to enjoy live music on these streets…

Music venues to visit: Vesta Violins, Stadium Hotel, Hard Rock Cafe, Muson Centre, New Afrika Shrine, Bottles, Terra Kulture, Freedom Park, Bogobiri, Jazzhole.

Festivals: Gidi culture festival The Experience (gospel concert), Felabration, Gidi Culture Festival Lagos International Jazz Festival

Nigerian Musicians to watch out for: Fela Kuti, Wizkid, Don Jazzy, Davido, TuFace, Timaya, D`banj,

3. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopians are very proud and rightfully so, as part of such a culturally and historically pivotal nation that is naturally traditional. While azmaris are traditional here, jazz instruments first made their way to Ethiopia through a surprising route early in the 20th century. In 1924, Haile Selassie (then known as Ras Tafari) visited Jerusalem. The future emperor was welcomed to the city at the St. James Cathedral, a Crusader-era Armenian church, by a brass band composed entirely of teenage orphans, survivors of the Armenian genocide.

What happened next changed the course of musical history in Ethiopia. Jazz became a real part of the Ethiopian cultural milieu, with people infusing their culture into the American form to create something entirely original. From the classic Ethiopiques jazz of Mulatu Astatke to the modern jazz magic of Samuel Yirga and his contemporaries, Ethiopia has a firmly unique vision of jazz.


Music Venues to visit: Fendika, Mama’s Kitchen, Jazzamba Lounge, Jams Addis, The Dome

Festivals: Selam Festival; Acacia Jazz and World Music Festival; Addis Foto Fest

Great Addis Ababa artists to watch out for: ER/Ethiopian Records; Mikael Seifu; Fendika Mulatu Astatke; Aster Aweke; Mahmoud Ahmed; Gigi; Teddy Afro; Teddy Yo; Ethiocolor; Samuel Yirga; Abdu Kiar.


4. Kinshasa, congo

In Congo, music is therapy, it’s life. It’s a time to dance and sing through those problems that are bigger than yourself but seem to affect every element in the lives of the people who call this place home. The music of Congo is more than feverish beats, gyrating hips, and luring lyrics. The music is about living in the moment, delighting in the sweet pleasures of life while you can.


Music Venues to visit: Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Centre Culturel Français, Texaf Bilembo, Espace Mutombo Buitshi, Zamba Playa
Great Congolese Artists to watch out for: Bisso Na Bisso, Kaysha, Kasai Allstars, Papa Wemba, Fally Ipupa, Koffi Olomide

Music festival; International Stars Festival, the Jazz Kif Festival, and the Pan African Music Festiva

5. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Whether sipping on a Brakina beer or Tamarind juice, Burkinabe are mild-mannered and welcoming, relative to the large population which in other states can translate to aggression. This mild-mannered nature must have something to do with the lack of aggression in marketing their music internationally. From the outside, the Burkina Faso music scene seems a bit impenetrable, without major online platforms, nor international music stars to draw attention to the country’s sounds, compared to their neighboring.

Music Venues to visit: Le Baron, Emeraulde, Calypso, Nirvana, Sky Bar; Le Jardin de la Musique Reemdogo; Institut Français;  Espace Culturel Gambidi; Petit Bazar; Sika Lounge

Festivals: Waga Festival, Rock à Ouaga, Recreatrales (theatre festival), Rendez-vous Chez Nous (Street Art), Africa Bass Culture (Electro), Jazz à Ouaga, FIDO (dance), Fespaco (cinema).

Great Ouagadougou Artists to watch out for: Salif Diarra; Art Melody; Joey le Soldat, Smockey; Sams’ K Le Jah;  Baliku Roots; Sa Majesté Askoy; Alif Naaba; Patrick Kabré; Noura; Victor Démé; Amadou Ballake; Farafina; Volta Jazz.

6. Luanda, Angola

Luanda has long been one of the most exciting African music cities, spearheading and originating movements and sounds such as kuduro, semba, kizomba, and most recently, along with South Africa, afro house. With its economic boom, due to oil finds, and the subsequent crash, the force of the music scene has not subsided one bit.

Music Venues to visit: Elinga Teatro; Centro Recreativo Kilamba; Palos; Salão Paula Francinete, Switch, Epic Sapa, Café del Mar, King’s Club, Espaço Bahía

Festivals: Feskizomba; Luanda International Jazz Festival; Luanda Sounds Fest; Festival de Música Eletrónica

Artists to watch out for: Homeboyz Muzik; Djeff Afrozila; Titica; DJ Satellite; Jack Nkanga, Ikonoklasta; Bonga; Francis Boy; Before Crush; Dor Fantasma;  MC Sacerdote; Cabo Snoop; Kapri; Renato Xtrova; DJ X-Trio; Paulo Flores; Os Banah.

Does Africa have exciting music cultures? yes, or yes  Well, let us know which of these destinations you have visited and what was your experience like?